Happy Friday to all, the first in the reign of Head Coach Emery, first of his name.
We’ve seen he’s now at the training ground taking it all in, wandering around and obviously introducing himself to all of the trees that only this time last week we had Arsène Wenger saying goodbye to individually. I wonder if they speak Spanish? Are trees multilingual? Or would the new boss need to have another go at his pigeon English?
All the important discussion topics over here at SG, you see.
He met Koscielny in the treatment room, plus was pictured arriving by the front of the London Colney training room, looking very pleased but also looking like a man who knows he’s got some work to do.
The first bit of work is to get that Rolodex of player numbers and start to introduce himself as the man that’s not going to make life easy any more. He’ll be doing that over the next week or so I reckon and he even said in his press conference on Wednesday that he wanted to have a face-to-face with each player at the club. If that’s the case then I hope his Microsoft Outlook diary is nice and clear, because he’s going to spend a lot of time meeting people and also in Russia if he wants to get around to them all before pre season starts. Let’s just hope he fairs better than me. I got a ‘Nick’ mixed up with ‘Nigel’ in one of my previous jobs, which felt a bit awkward when Nick told me he wasn’t named after Winterburn a few weeks into my new role.
Anyway, I digress, because Emery’s first big hurdle – as I’ve mentioned already this week – is getting to meet, know and then convince the players of his plans for the club and then specifically. We’ve already heard some journos talking up the fact that Emery wants to make Ramsey captain, wants Aubameyang to be one of the pivotal players, likes the look of Xhaka, but what I certainly had overlooked with the new guy coming in was the chances that exist for previously isolated players.
Take Lucas Perez, for example, who was shunned in his first season at the club despite doing well at times. Then last season he was farmed back to Deportivo. But there are a few speculating that Emery is a fan of the Spaniard and if that is the case that he tried to sign him in 2016 then it will give Lucas some hope that he might get more of a crack at the club. I found it odd how he was shunted out the door so easily by Arsène after we signed him and certainly based on his season at the club he delivered more than someone like Iwobi did last season so I think that there would be room for him as a squad player and certainly given our propensity for injuries he’d probably make north of 20 appearances if he stayed.
I guess it also depends on how Emery wants to line up his team. If he adopts the 4-3-3 then it could open up opportunities for more game time for the likes of Perez, but again I suspect it will be limited, what with the probable need to fit Auba, Laca, Mkhitaryan and Özil into the same team.
Whatever Emery goes with though, if Perez isn’t moved on and stays at the club, I suspect he’ll get a fairer crack at the club than he got under Wenger and that first season probably shows that he deserves it.
Whether Joel Campbell gets the same chances I’d be surprised with but at least the new manager is having a proper look at all of his players and by the sounds of it there’ll be no ‘favourites’ as he aims to objectively assess who his best players are for the squad.
Imagine that; no more hierarchies of players that play because of the name on the back of the shirt instead of the form showed? It almost sounds revolutionary.
But we all know it’s not, it’s just how the club should be reacting, so for that I’m certainly happy.
Hopefully some of the players are happy too. We’ve had a few take to social media and some give interviews, including Auba talking up his hope of playing in a two up top. I hope for the same Pierre, I hope for the same, and hopefully Emery is looking at his two £50million footballers and trying to work out how to get them in together up top.
I can only hope.
I actually can’t wait for that first pre-season game. Being able to look how an Emery Arsenal team lined up, looking at what the nuances are of his side as it starts to take shape, ooh it’s going to be exciting.
And we haven’t had that for so long. I can’t wait.
Catch you all tomorrow.